Page images
PDF
EPUB

The Caspian, as before remarked, receives the Ural, which divides Europe from Asia; the Volga, which traverses the greater portion of European Russia; the Kouma and the Terek. All these rivers are in Russia.

The Mediterranean, including its branches, receives the Don, which falls into the Sea of Azoph; the Dnieper, Dniester, and Danube, which enter the Black Sea. The last named, inferior only to the Volga in extent, traverses the whole of Southern Germany, Hungary, and European Turkey. The Maritza and the Vardar fall into the Archipelago. The Po and the Adige flow into the Adriatic. The Tiber, in Italy; the Rhone, in France, and the Ebro, in Spain, all flow into the western branches of the Mediter

ranean.

The Atlantic Ocean receives the Guadalquiver, the Guadiana, the Tagus and the Douro, from Spain and Portugal; the Garonne, Loire and Seine, from France; the Scheldt, the Meuse, and the Rhine, the Weser and the Elbe, after passing through France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, fall into the North Sea; the Glommen, the largest river of Norway, and the Gota, or Gothelbe, from Sweden, the first of which falls into the Skager-Rack, and the latter into the Kattegat; and the Thames and Humber, in England, which fall into the North Sea.

The Baltic, and its branches, receive the Dala, Indals or Ragunda, Angermann, Umea and Lulea, from the Norwegiano-Swedish monarchy, and the Tornea, from the latter country and the Russian territory; the Neva, the Duna and the Niemen, from Russia; the Vistula, the course of which is through Poland and Prussia; and the Oder, which, rising in the Carpathian Mountains, traverses the whole centre of the latter.

The Arctic Ocean receives the Tana, from Finmark in Sweden; the Petchora, from the Russian Government of Archangel; and the Kara Baigarama, which in part separates Europe from Asia.

The White Sea receives the Onega, the Dwina and the Mezen, which flow through a large portion of Northern Russia.

It has been estimated by Malte-Brun that, representing all the waters discharged by the rivers of Europe by unity, the Black Sea receives 0.273; the Caspian, 0.165; the Mediterranean, Sea of Marmora, and the Archipelago, 0.144; the Atlantic Ocean, 0.131; the Baltic, 0.129; the North Sea, 0.110; and the Arctic Ocean, 0.048.

The following table will exhibit the proportional lengths, basins, and annual discharge of waters of the principal rivers of Europe, the Thames being the unity:

RIVERS.
The Thames..

-BASIN.

[blocks in formation]

Size. Water Discharged.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Compared with the rivers of Asia and America, these would be but small tributaries; but they are, nevertheless, capacious enough for all commercial purposes. The continent of Europe, indeed, is so intersected by gulfs and bays as to require but little more convenience, and where nature has not provided sufficient means of communication between parts

A

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF

EUROPE.

EUROPE, with the exception of Australia, is the least of the great continents into which the earth is naturally divided: but in the intelligence, enterprise and civilization of its people, and perhaps also in physical advantages, it is eminently superior to all other portions of the world." Altrice victoris omnium gentium populi, longeque terrarum pulcherrima."(Plinii Hist. Nat., lib. iii. § 1.) Here man in his mental, moral and physical capacities is most developed. Enlightened and strengthened by successive ages of struggle, mind and matter have here attained their utmost tension. In no other part of the world has such progress been made in all that is useful, ornamental and great. The arts, sciences and literature are indigenous. Italy and Greece, the ancient seats of learning and song, whose grandeur astonishes the mind; Britain, the mother of nations, on whose wide dominions the sun never ceases to shine; Germany, whose sons overturned even Rome herself, and whose eventful history so captivates the soul; and France, beautiful France, are of Europe but component parts. All is classic ground. Alexander, Charlemagne, Napoleon, were denizens of this favored land. Here Homer sang; here Milton lived. Shakspeare, Schiller, and a thousand other potent names, are linked in eternity to its destiny. To the world, indeed, Europe is as an elder brother, to which all nations look for encouragement and support. Its history sheds a halo of light over civilization, and its ancient liberties ever live in the hearts of true freemen. All modern institutions have their prototype in the laws and equities of Europe, and governments find their chief support in the wisdom of her sages. Intelligence and industry framed her prosperity, and the same agents maintain her preeminence.

Europe, geographically speaking, is situated between the longitudes of 9° west, and 66° east, and between the latitudes of 34° and 71° north. It is bounded north by the Arctic Ocean; east by the River Kara Baïgarama, the main chain of the Urals, the River Ural, the coast of the Caspian Sea, the Strait of Ienikale, the Sea of Marmora, the Dardanelles, and the Archipelago; south by the principal chain of the Caucasus, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Straits of Gibraltar, and the Atlantic Ocean; and west by the Atlantic Ocean and Arctic Sea. The greatest length of Europe, from Cape St. Vincent in Portugal, to a point in the chain of the Urals, in the neighborhood of Iekaterinbourg, (in the Government of Perm, in Russia,) is 3,372 English miles. The greatest breadth, from Cape Nord-kin, in Finmark, to Cape Matapan, in Morea, is 2,400 miles. The area is 3,684,841 square miles.

The narrowest part of the European continent, washed by opposite seas, Vol. II.

1

art has successfully extended it by means of canals, railroads, &c., with which the whole has been brought into near proximity.

The LAKES OF EUROPE, of which the Caspian sea ought to be considered as one, can bear no comparison to the great lakes of America; but they afford convenience to localities, and present to the eye more of the picturesque and beautiful than any natural scenery in the world. Among the principal lakes, properly so called, are the following:

[blocks in formation]

Lagunes are numerous along the south coast of the Baltic, and some parts of the Adriatic shores; and Holland is full of dykes and pools. The coasts of Norway and parts of Sweden abound with inlets of the sea, which often stretch a long distance inland; these, however, do not consist of stagnant waters. Swamps occupy nearly the whole basin of the Priépec, in Poland, and along the courses of the Danube and Theiss, in Hungary, and at the mouths of the Danube, Po, and other rivers, they are extensive. Many of minor extent are to be found in the great plain of the continent; in the eastern parts of England; in Touraine, in France; in Italy, (in particular the Pontine Marshes;) in Sicily, in Western Greece, and on the shores of the Black Sea. (Malte-Brun. Balbi, &c.)

The ISLANDS OF EUROPE are both extensive and important, but as they will be more minutely described in the special descriptions of the states to which they belong, we can in this place confine our remarks to generalities. All European islands may be classified under four leading divisions corresponding with the number of the different seas in which they are found. 1. The Islands and Archipelagoes in the Atlantic Ocean.-The first in extent and importance is the British Archipelago, among which are Great Britain and Ireland, the two largest in Europe. Next follow Vigeroë, Hitteren, &c., on the coast of Norway; the Feroe Islands, belonging to Denmark; the Dutch Archipelago, consisting of several islands off the coast of Holland; the Islands of Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney, situated on the French coast, although politically they are connected with Great Britain; the Azores, belonging to Portugal, and numerous others of less importance.

2. The Islands and Archipelagoes in the Mediterranean and its branches. These are the Belearic Islands, of which Majorca is the largest; the large islands of Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily, the little island of Elba, and the diminutive group of Malta; the Ionian Isles; Candia, a large island; the Grecian Archipelago, in which are many important islands; and finally, on the coast of Dalmatia and in the Adriatic Sea, the Islands of Lissa, Brazza, Veglia, Cherso, and others of lesser extent.

3. The Islands and Archipelagoes of the Baltic.-This division presents the islands of Zealand, Fyen or Funen, Falster, and some others; then fol

low Bornholm, a dependency of Denmark; Oland and Gottland, belonging to Sweden; the Aland isles, and the islands of Dago and Esel, all of which belong to Russia.

And 4. The Islands and Archipelagoes of the Arctic Ocean and its branches. This class commences on the west with the Lofodon-Mageroe group, in the Norwegian Archipelago, some of the islands of which are large and important. To the east of these are Kalgouve Island, near the entrance of the White Sea; Nova-Zembla; and the Islands of Waygats. Returning eastward on a higher parallel, we find the Cherry or Barren Island to the north of Finmark, and further north, the Archipelago of Spitzbergen, which, however, is generally ranked as belonging to America. Russia claims Spitzbergen as a dependency, but its shores on this account are not the less frequented by English, Danish, and other ships that are attracted there by the abundance of whales, white bears, narwhales, and other large mammiferous animals. This archipelago consists of three large and numerous smaller islands. The Danes have occupied some of these as hunting stations.

The MOUNTAIN SYSTEMS OF EUROPE are better known, and have received more the attention of scientific men than any others; but in a work of this description it will be utterly impossible to do more than give a general view of their courses and heights. These are divided into thirteen classes, of which nine are continental and four insular. Two of the continental divisions, namely, the Uralian and Caucasian, belong in common to Europe and Asia; but as their ramifications are mostly connected with the latter, they will be described under the head of that continent. The other seven are wholly within the limits of Europe, and are the Hesperian, Gallo-Franconian, Alpine, Sclavo-Helenic, Sclavonic, Hercynio-Carpathian and Scandinavian. The four insular divisions are the Sardo-Corsican, in the Mediterranean; the Britannic and Açorian, in the Atlantic Ocean, and the Boreal, in the Arctic Ocean.

The first group consists of the mountains of Spain and Portugal. These are subdivided into the southern, central aud northern chains, the latter of which includes the Pyrennees. Few are formed into continuous ranges, and in general they are imperfectly connected. The highest points are the Pichaco de Mulhacen, 11,657 feet, and its neighbor the Pichaco de Velata, 11,389; the Sierra de Gredos, 10,551, and the Penalara, a little to the north of the Escurial, 8,223. In the Pyrennees also the elevations range from 6,000 to 11,000 feet above the level of the Ocean; the Pic de Netou, the eastern summit of Maladetta, or Mount Maudit, is 11,426 feet; Pic Posets, 11,279 feet, and Mount Perdu, on the Spanish frontier, 11,170 feet.

The Gallo-Francian Mountains include those of France west of the Rhine. In this system there is no appearance of a continuous chain, but it rather consists of a series of small plateaus surmounted by mountains, or more frequently by mere hilly eminences. It includes the Cevennes, the Vosges, and the Armorican chains. The highest points are Plombe de Cantal, 6,093 feet, and Puy-Mary, a volcanic peak, 6,113 feet above the sea. Many other peaks rise to the height of 4 or 5,000 feet, but the greater number scarcely attain the elevation of 1,000 feet.

The Alpine system comprehends the mountains east of the Rhone, and Doubs, to the right of the Danube, and to the west of the Unna, a tributary of the Save. The Alps compose the great central table-land of Europe,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »